Perceptions of an old female eyewitness: is the older eyewitness believable?

Psychol Aging. 2001 Jun;16(2):346-50. doi: 10.1037//0882-7974.16.2.346.


Young adults rated an old female witness (82 years) to be less competent but more honest than a young female witness (28 years). The effect of age stereotyping on believability was assessed indirectly by using a variant of Loftus' misinformation paradigm. Regression analysis showed that the more competent a witness was perceived as being, the more influential was the misinformation she provided. This was true, however, only when the witness was young because the relatively lower competence of the old witness was associated with nonsignificant misinformation effects. These data suggest that negative beliefs associating incompetence with old age may compromise the believability of older eyewitnesses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Competency*
  • Prejudice*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stereotyping*
  • Women / psychology*